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Making It Up: How Unspoken Rules Can Ruin Your Day and Your Business

Ever feel like you’re angry for no good reason? This week, I coached Kate, an Account Manager who seemed perpetually pissed off. Her mood was ruining her interactions with clients and colleagues. Curious about the root cause, I asked her what was going on.

Rule #1: Don’t Make Up Rules

Our conversation was enlightening:

Kate: “Well, Frank (the MD) makes me feel angry every morning, and it takes me ages to get over it.”

I thought this probably wasn’t the time to point out that she was making herself angry, so I asked:

Me: “So, how does he do that?”

Kate: “Every morning, he walks past my desk and doesn’t say ‘Good Morning.’ That makes me angry, and it takes me ages to calm down.”

Me: “So if he said good morning to you, you would be fine to focus on work?”

Kate: “Absolutely.”

Me: “What did Frank say when you asked him to say good morning to you when he walks past?”

Kate: “Oh, I’ve never asked him to do that.”

Me: “So… you make up a rule in your head that Frank should say good morning to you, and if he doesn’t do something that he doesn’t know you want him to do, you feel angry for a few hours?”

Kate: “Well, when you put it like that, it doesn’t really make sense, does it?”

Rule #2: Communicate Your Needs

We dove deeper into how she was attributing meanings to others’ actions and essentially making herself angry. Kate realised she was using the same flawed logic with clients. Once she recognised this, her mindset shifted, and so did her behavior. Her client interactions improved dramatically.

The Real Lesson Here

Where in your life or work are you making up rules, not communicating them, and then using the unfulfilled expectations to feel angry, anxious, or demotivated? It’s worth pondering.

Next Steps: Uncovering Hidden Rules and Boosting Performance

My approach focuses on identifying and resolving the root causes of performance issues. I don’t bombard your team with new techniques; I uncover what’s holding them back. Each person will then develop their own system to meet the business’s needs. When people create their own solutions, they take ownership and drive their performance.

Want to learn more about how I can help your business? Give me a call or WhatsApp on 07789 077 571. Let’s stop making up rules and start making real progress.